Modeling of the temporal patterns of fluoxetine prescriptions and suicide rates in the United States

Michael S. Milane, Marc A. Suchard, Ma Li Wong, Julio Licinio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: To study the potential association of antidepressant use and suicide at a population level, we analyzed the associations between suicide rates and dispensing of the prototypic SSRI antidepressant fluoxetine in the United States during the period 1960-2002. Methods and Findings: Sources of data included Centers of Disease Control and US Census Bureau age-adjusted suicide rates since 1960 and numbers of fluoxetine sales in the US, since its introduction in 1988. We conducted statistical analysis of age-adjusted population data and prescription numbers. Suicide rates fluctuated between 12.2 and 13.7 per 100,000 for the entire population from the early 1960s until 1988. Since then, suicide rates have gradually declined, with the lowest value of 10.4 per 100,000 in 2000. This steady decline is significantly associated with increased numbers of fluoxetine prescriptions dispensed from 2,469,000 in 1988 to 33,320,000 in 2002 (rs = -0.92; p < 0.001). Mathematical modeling of what suicide rates would have been during the 1988-2002 period based on pre-1988 data indicates that since the introduction of fluoxetine in 1988 through 2002 there has been a cumulative decrease in expected suicide mortality of 33,600 individuals (posterior median, 95% Bayesian credible interval 22,400-45,000). Conclusions: The introduction of SSRIs in 1988 has been temporally associated with a substantial reduction in the number of suicides. This effect may have been more apparent in the female population, whom we postulate might have particularly benefited from SSRI treatment. While these types of data cannot lead to conclusions on causality, we suggest here that in the context of untreated depression being the major cause of suicide, antidepressant treatment could have had a contributory role in the reduction of suicide rates in the period 1988-2002.

LanguageEnglish
Pages816-824
Number of pages9
JournalPLoS medicine
Volume3
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Milane, Michael S. ; Suchard, Marc A. ; Wong, Ma Li ; Licinio, Julio. / Modeling of the temporal patterns of fluoxetine prescriptions and suicide rates in the United States. In: PLoS medicine. 2006 ; Vol. 3, No. 6. pp. 816-824.
@article{271a6bbdca2e4e0e9810f15311f7ffba,
title = "Modeling of the temporal patterns of fluoxetine prescriptions and suicide rates in the United States",
abstract = "Background: To study the potential association of antidepressant use and suicide at a population level, we analyzed the associations between suicide rates and dispensing of the prototypic SSRI antidepressant fluoxetine in the United States during the period 1960-2002. Methods and Findings: Sources of data included Centers of Disease Control and US Census Bureau age-adjusted suicide rates since 1960 and numbers of fluoxetine sales in the US, since its introduction in 1988. We conducted statistical analysis of age-adjusted population data and prescription numbers. Suicide rates fluctuated between 12.2 and 13.7 per 100,000 for the entire population from the early 1960s until 1988. Since then, suicide rates have gradually declined, with the lowest value of 10.4 per 100,000 in 2000. This steady decline is significantly associated with increased numbers of fluoxetine prescriptions dispensed from 2,469,000 in 1988 to 33,320,000 in 2002 (rs = -0.92; p < 0.001). Mathematical modeling of what suicide rates would have been during the 1988-2002 period based on pre-1988 data indicates that since the introduction of fluoxetine in 1988 through 2002 there has been a cumulative decrease in expected suicide mortality of 33,600 individuals (posterior median, 95{\%} Bayesian credible interval 22,400-45,000). Conclusions: The introduction of SSRIs in 1988 has been temporally associated with a substantial reduction in the number of suicides. This effect may have been more apparent in the female population, whom we postulate might have particularly benefited from SSRI treatment. While these types of data cannot lead to conclusions on causality, we suggest here that in the context of untreated depression being the major cause of suicide, antidepressant treatment could have had a contributory role in the reduction of suicide rates in the period 1988-2002.",
author = "Milane, {Michael S.} and Suchard, {Marc A.} and Wong, {Ma Li} and Julio Licinio",
year = "2006",
doi = "10.1371/journal.pmed.0030190",
language = "English",
volume = "3",
pages = "816--824",
journal = "Nature Methods",
issn = "1549-1277",
publisher = "Nature Publishing Group",
number = "6",

}

Modeling of the temporal patterns of fluoxetine prescriptions and suicide rates in the United States. / Milane, Michael S.; Suchard, Marc A.; Wong, Ma Li; Licinio, Julio.

In: PLoS medicine, Vol. 3, No. 6, 2006, p. 816-824.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Modeling of the temporal patterns of fluoxetine prescriptions and suicide rates in the United States

AU - Milane, Michael S.

AU - Suchard, Marc A.

AU - Wong, Ma Li

AU - Licinio, Julio

PY - 2006

Y1 - 2006

N2 - Background: To study the potential association of antidepressant use and suicide at a population level, we analyzed the associations between suicide rates and dispensing of the prototypic SSRI antidepressant fluoxetine in the United States during the period 1960-2002. Methods and Findings: Sources of data included Centers of Disease Control and US Census Bureau age-adjusted suicide rates since 1960 and numbers of fluoxetine sales in the US, since its introduction in 1988. We conducted statistical analysis of age-adjusted population data and prescription numbers. Suicide rates fluctuated between 12.2 and 13.7 per 100,000 for the entire population from the early 1960s until 1988. Since then, suicide rates have gradually declined, with the lowest value of 10.4 per 100,000 in 2000. This steady decline is significantly associated with increased numbers of fluoxetine prescriptions dispensed from 2,469,000 in 1988 to 33,320,000 in 2002 (rs = -0.92; p < 0.001). Mathematical modeling of what suicide rates would have been during the 1988-2002 period based on pre-1988 data indicates that since the introduction of fluoxetine in 1988 through 2002 there has been a cumulative decrease in expected suicide mortality of 33,600 individuals (posterior median, 95% Bayesian credible interval 22,400-45,000). Conclusions: The introduction of SSRIs in 1988 has been temporally associated with a substantial reduction in the number of suicides. This effect may have been more apparent in the female population, whom we postulate might have particularly benefited from SSRI treatment. While these types of data cannot lead to conclusions on causality, we suggest here that in the context of untreated depression being the major cause of suicide, antidepressant treatment could have had a contributory role in the reduction of suicide rates in the period 1988-2002.

AB - Background: To study the potential association of antidepressant use and suicide at a population level, we analyzed the associations between suicide rates and dispensing of the prototypic SSRI antidepressant fluoxetine in the United States during the period 1960-2002. Methods and Findings: Sources of data included Centers of Disease Control and US Census Bureau age-adjusted suicide rates since 1960 and numbers of fluoxetine sales in the US, since its introduction in 1988. We conducted statistical analysis of age-adjusted population data and prescription numbers. Suicide rates fluctuated between 12.2 and 13.7 per 100,000 for the entire population from the early 1960s until 1988. Since then, suicide rates have gradually declined, with the lowest value of 10.4 per 100,000 in 2000. This steady decline is significantly associated with increased numbers of fluoxetine prescriptions dispensed from 2,469,000 in 1988 to 33,320,000 in 2002 (rs = -0.92; p < 0.001). Mathematical modeling of what suicide rates would have been during the 1988-2002 period based on pre-1988 data indicates that since the introduction of fluoxetine in 1988 through 2002 there has been a cumulative decrease in expected suicide mortality of 33,600 individuals (posterior median, 95% Bayesian credible interval 22,400-45,000). Conclusions: The introduction of SSRIs in 1988 has been temporally associated with a substantial reduction in the number of suicides. This effect may have been more apparent in the female population, whom we postulate might have particularly benefited from SSRI treatment. While these types of data cannot lead to conclusions on causality, we suggest here that in the context of untreated depression being the major cause of suicide, antidepressant treatment could have had a contributory role in the reduction of suicide rates in the period 1988-2002.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=33745597332&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1371/journal.pmed.0030190

DO - 10.1371/journal.pmed.0030190

M3 - Article

VL - 3

SP - 816

EP - 824

JO - Nature Methods

T2 - Nature Methods

JF - Nature Methods

SN - 1549-1277

IS - 6

ER -